About the food of Lesotho

Maletsunyane Falls in Lesotho. Photo by BagelBelt.

If you’d like to go Lesotho, there’s only one way. Through South Africa. If you have trouble imagining what I mean, visualize the yolk of an egg. Now squish it a little and set it way over to the right. That’s Lesotho. Inside of South Africa.

Lesotho mountain scenery. Photo by Kentstander.

Despite being entirely surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho asserts her presence in a big way – by being the world’s tallest country. The entire country is 3,281 ft (or more) above sea level, which is more than any other country in the world.

Maseru, Lesotho. Photo by Michael Denne

But what about the food?

Let’s start with the city. If, as the sun grandly rises on a frosty winter morning, you decide to slip into a local coffee shop, you can warm yourself with a big, red latte, made with extra-strong rooibos tea (aptly nicknamed red espresso)  [Recipe]. Rooibos is grown in this part of the world, making a red latte (and cappuccino etc) a very local specialty.

Once you’ve walked around a bit and worked up an appetite, you can slip into a restaurant and have any number of international dishes, especially French, or you can saddle up to regional favorites like grilled meats, fish, home-brewed beer and ginger drinks.

Boy sitting on rocks. Photo by K. Kendall. Flag courtesy of CIA World Factbook. Sunset in Lesotho. Photo by Matt80.

A walk to the countryside will lead you to another array of favorites, like Moroko, or finely chopped and braised greens – sometimes cooked with potatoes or even beans. Another staple is papa (also nsima), or white porridge made from maize  [Recipe]. Papa is used to scoop up the moroko  [Recipeor other veggies, like chakalaka – a vegetable chili sauce. Meat can be included in these meals but, while owning cattle is a sign of status, eating it is traditionally reserved for special occasions.

Finally, there’s an amazing array of fruit grown in and around Lesotho – anything from pear, to oranges and from quinces to peaches. The natural sweetness always tastes best right off the tree, which is where you’d find me if I was in Lesotho.

Rondavel home in Lesotho. Photo by K. Kendall. Ha Nqabeni primary school, Lesotho. Photo by Michael Denne. Maps courtesy of CIA World Factbook.

And that’s just the beginning. What is your favorite food from the region?


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